Spanish coach plays down speculation of Worlds rivalry between Valverde and Rodriguez

Alejandro Valverde stole the Vuelta a España points jersey from Joaquim Rodriguez on stage 21 when Purito had a puncture before the sprint

Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde at the start of Stage 21 of the 2015 Vuelta Espana
(Image credit: Watson)

Alejandro Valverde courted a little controversy on stage 21 of the Vuelta a España on Sunday by winning the intermediate sprint to snatch the points jersey while the incumbent, Joaquim Rodriguez, suffered with a puncture.

The pair will line up together for Spain in the UCI World Championships road race in Richmond on September 27 and team manager Javier Minguez insists the incident will not be an issue.

Protocol usually dictates that attacks are not made on the final stage of a Grand Tour, with the ride to the finish line virtually a procession, but Valverde threw caution to the wind by launching his sprint for points victory.

“I'm not worried. When on the circuit they will only think of the race,” Minguez told

Valverde will be joined by three Movistar teammates in the 259.2km race in Virginia, with Ion Izagirre, Imanol Erviti and Juan Jose Lobato making the cut for the squad. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) and Luis Mas (Caja Rural) round out the nine-man team.

Sanchez will first ride the individual time trial along with Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar).

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Stuart Clarke

Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.